WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the fourth episode of Syfy's Deadly Class, "Mirror People."
Syfy's Deadly Class takes some liberties in adapting Rick Remender and Wes Craig's comic series. The premise remains the same -- students trained as elite assassins at Kings Dominion -- but some characters, and their motivations, are altered for more emotional punch.
In the fourth episode, "Mirror People," the biggest deviation so far comes courtesy of the last person we'd ever expect -- the most lethal villain from the source material, Headmaster Lin.
The previous episode, "Snake Pit," hinted that Lin (Benedict Wong) had a heart when he spared the life of Jurgen (Henry Rollins), the school's Poison Arts teacher, after the latter resigned. He factored in decades of friendship and warned that once Jurgen went on the run, the powers that be wouldn't stop until he was dead. That didn't necessarily make Lin a hero, because he did try to poison Jurgen's wine and would have succeeded if Jurgen hadn't detected it.
But as "Mirror Peeople" progresses, Lin shows more of his human side and, more importantly, a genuine sense of concern that the school his ancestors built has become corrupt. After placing his violent students in detention, he wrestles with whether they, and his deadly faculty, are on the right path to eking out social justice as originally intended. The show gives him more of a personal touch, as he lays in bed with what we assume is his wife or girlfriend, Shu (Theresa Wong). As she comforts him, we realize Lin really isn't the heartless headmaster he is in the comics. In fact, she divulges a key detail -- she too was on staff and Lin helped her to escape, unbeknownst to his bosses.
Later on, however, Lin's potential as a knight in shining armor comes full-circle when the Kuroki Syndicate comes from Japan to kidnap Saya (Lana Condor). It's not your average vendetta, but a blood feud between her and her mysterious older brother, Kenji. As the Yakuza assassins incapacitate Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth) and head out with an unconscious Saya, they run into a roadblock in Lin. He takes them on, buying Marcus enough time, and a revived Saya, to get involved. Seeing Lin putting his life on the line reiterates these aren't just students he dishes out "tough love" to -- they're family, and it's his job to keep them safe, no matter what.
Lin eventually helps to save the girl, and in the aftermath begins to realize what the school has become. The intriguing thing is that this is vastly different from his disposition in the comics, where he doesn't care about his students, but rather views them as pawns in a sadistic game. After all, Lin was the one who poisoned Maria and gave her up to Chico's family when she took out his father's gang, and he also orchestrated the freshman finals for all the legacy students to kill the school's rats, just so they could attain a passing grade.
In short, he's a vindictive mastermind who allies himself with nefarious dynasties, and that's why in the latest issue Marcus decides to take Maria and the other Kings Dominion runaways back to the school to kill Lin and burn it down. It's an institution of hatred, a hell on Earth, with Lin as its devil. Thankfully, the TV series casts him in a better light, because with so many students marked for death, they'll need more than a mentor from Lin.
Based on the comic book series of the same name by Rick Remender and Wes Craig, Deadly Class stars Benedict Wong, Benjamin Wadsworth, Lana Condor, María Gabriela de Faría, Luke Tennie, Liam James and Michel Duval. New episodes air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.